North Korea nuclear test: South Korea’s allies agree on response
South Korea said on Wednesday it had agreed with the United States and Japan that a resumption of nuclear testing by North Korea should be met with an « unprecedented » response.
Washington and its allies believe North Korea could be on the verge of resuming nuclear bomb testing for the first time since 2017, but experts say they have few good options to prevent or respond to such a move.
South Korean First Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong discussed the issue with his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori and US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman in Tokyo.
“We agreed that a response of unprecedented scale would be required if North Korea conducts a seventh nuclear test,” he told a joint press conference.
The United States and its allies have provided few details about further steps it might take in response to a resumption of nuclear testing, which State Department spokesman Vedant Patel reiterated on Wednesday would be « a serious escalation » which would « seriously threaten regional stability ». «
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told an event hosted by Bloomberg that Washington and its allies were working to strengthen their defenses and would work with countries, including the United Nations, « to exert appropriate pressure on the North Korea ».
North Korea’s latest nuclear test involved China and Russia as they backed enhanced UN Security Council sanctions, but it’s unclear whether they would do so again, being given the dire state of US relations with Moscow and Beijing due to the war in Ukraine and tensions around Taiwan.
In May, China and Russia vetoed US-led pressure to impose more UN sanctions on North Korea for its repeated missile launches, publicly dividing the UN Security Council. UN for the first time since it began punishing Pyongyang in 2006.
Asked about a possible nuclear test by North Korea, Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Wednesday: « Let’s solve the problems as they come up. I wouldn’t speculate before whatever. that’s not happening. But, of course, the prospect is not a very welcome one. »
At the Tokyo press conference, Sherman urged North Korea to « refrain from further provocations », calling them « reckless and deeply destabilizing for the region ».
« Anything that happens here, like a North Korean nuclear test…has security implications around the world, » she said. « Indeed, we hope that all members of the Security Council will understand that any use of a nuclear weapon will change the world in incredible ways. »
Asked about the comments in Tokyo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called on all countries to recognize « the root causes of the longstanding standoff » over South Korea’s weapons programs. North and to take steps to build mutual trust and address everyone’s concerns. parties.
North Korea has carried out weapons tests at an unprecedented rate this year, firing more than two dozen ballistic missiles, including one that flew over Japan.
At a regular press conference, Patel declined to detail how Washington would react to a resumption of North Korean nuclear testing, but said, using the initials of the country’s official name: « We continue to have tools at our disposition to hold the DPRK accountable.”
He referenced unilateral US sanctions in response to North Korean missile launches this year, as well as joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, which involved a US aircraft carrier for the first time since 2017.
Mori said the United States, South Korea and Japan are committed to « further strengthening deterrence and response capability » and trilateral security cooperation.
Amid rising tensions over Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims as its own, Sherman reiterated the US position that he does not support Taiwanese independence, but said he would do anything. its possible to support Taipei and work with Japan and South Korea to ensure it could defend itself.
At a Communist Party meeting this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an acceleration of plans to build a world-class military and said China would never give up the right to use force. to solve the Taiwan problem.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo, Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Soo-hyang Choi and Josh Smith in Seoul, Eduardo Baptista in Beijing and Humeyra Pamuk, Simon Lewis and David Brunnstrom in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Chang – Ran Kim and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Deepa Babington and Lincoln Feast.)